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BBG Media Survey In Burma Shows FM Up, AM Down; Mobile Nascent

[ 0 ] September 21, 2012 |

With the Burmese government opening up the media environment, fresh data shows that audiences are on the move – suggesting that a change in programming tactics may be necessary as competition increases…

Commercial network Shwe FM has amassed a listenership of 40% of the population in just three years.

The BBG and Gallup released findings of its Spring national media survey of Burma, which shows increased listening to FM, a sharp drop in AM/MW listening, and steady usage of shortwave.

Weekly use of FM, driven in part by the success of three-year-old nationwide commercial broadcaster Shwe FM, now stands at 47% of adults. AM/MW has dropped from 46% to 18% since the 2010-11 survey, and shortwave held at 34%.

Mobile ownership, still bogged down by high SIM card prices, rose significantly, but to just 14% of the population. By comparison, countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam have mobile phone ownership rates of 59%, 57%, and 70% respectively. SIM cards can price as high as $250 in Burma, compared to neighboring countries where they can be had for $1-$2.

Use of the internet is almost non-existent due to infrastructure issues as well as high cost. Satellite dish ownership remained static at 6%.

Barring significant deregulation and pricing changes, Burma will remain a broadcast market for the near term.

But even broadcast is somewhat limited. Just 39% of Burmese listened to the radio”yesterday” and just 20% watched television. 63% listened to radio in the past week, with 45% watching television.

The survey was conducted in Spring 2012, surveying 3000 respondents in face-to-face interviews.

Selected slides from the presentation:

Overall, television lags radio, primarily due to an urban/rural ownership split.

Radio usage tops television, and researchers reported many Burmese had not even heard of the internet.

While AM/MW declined, SW held - possibly due to high trust scores achieved by RFA, VOA, and BBC.

Commercial upstart Shwe FM was also cited as a top information source.

Feel free to download the presentation, and the full video from the event at Gallup headquarters is available below:

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Category: Asia News, East Asia News, International Broadcasting News, News By Region, Think Pieces

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